• Marketing Basics

How to Properly Use TikTok for Your Marketing Strategy

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 9 min read
How to Properly Use TikTok for Your Marketing Strategy

Intro

Any sort of marketing strategy requires a little preparation, especially if you plan on devoting resources to the undertaking. You need to see ROI, or Return On Investment, with whatever outreach you’re doing. Levels of ROI can be variable. At bare minimum, you should break even; but if that’s all you’re doing, marketing outreach is less than effective.

It will all depend on scale. Warner Brothers spent $100,000,000 marketing the hit film Inception, which cost $160,000,000 to make, and produced $836,800,000 at the box office. So for a total expense of $260,000,000, the film brought a profit of $576,800,000 after production and marketing expenses.

The millions spent on the film’s production don’t come into marketing ROI, so really you can say that there was a 1 to 8.368 ROI ratio in that scenario. Essentially, Inception marketing amounted to 1 part spending, 7.368 parts profit. That’s good ROI. Some films spend a hundred million on marketing and barely double their money in the foreign market.

Solid marketing produces stronger ROI. Even so, what marketing you do for your products or services must match the products or services themselves. Social media is a fine outreach avenue in that regard; there’s much flexibility in presentation potential. TikTok is presently trending here. Accordingly, in this writing we’ll explore ten ways to achieve better ROI with TikTok specifically.

Branded Channels Are Key

First, you need to establish a TikTok channel that’s designed to properly showcase your brand. Said channel should have a focus on entertainment, which we’ll expand on further down this list. You need to be consistent. Your channel needs to reflect the culture of your brand, and it needs to properly appeal to relevant TikTok demographics.

Think of it this way: if your product were a soft drink, you would market that soft drink to gamers differently than you would market the exact same product to lawyers, but the brand itself wouldn’t change. It’s the difference between wearing a jersey at a sporting event, and a suit and tie at the office. The clothes you wear shift, but you’re the same.

The way you present your brand shifts, but the brand stays the same. So your branded TikTok channel needs to feature content which doesn’t clash with who you are and what your brand does, but simultaneously caters to the intended audience.

Hashtags Funnel Content to Varying Users

Once you’ve got a channel put together, and you’re producing regular content, the next step is to assure visibility, and for that you’re going to want to incorporate the right hashtags. There are half a billion active monthly users on TikTok, and here are some of the best hashtags to engage them as of June, 2021.

Here’s the thing: which hashtags you use will depend on what’s trending. Several things impact trending hashtags. What time of year is it? Where is your company located, and where are the primary customers of your company located? What’s going on in the news, and what are competitors up to?

Get in the habit of updating hashtags to be relevant every month or so as advised by your marketing consultant. Each video you produce should have a handful of relevant hashtags. You can conduct search engine queries to see what’s generally trending, also.

Consultation from marketing groups as a means of helping you tailor hashtags to fit your audience, products, and that which is presently trending on TikTok represents a great way to save time and money in maintaining relevance with hashtags overall, not just with TikTok—you’re likely marketing across multiple social media avenues already, after all.

TikTok Content is Built Around Entertainment

Marketing is not the raison d’etre of TikTok; it’s not their purpose for existence. TikTok is for connecting, it’s for entertainment, it’s for fun. It’s a primary avenue for teenagers to engage with one another, and you’ll find a great deal of associated content comes from youth between the ages of about 14 and 19.

If your business is built around life insurance, then using TikTok will require marketing not to the children themselves, but to the parents through the children. The idea would be to compel teenagers to ask their parents for associated products or services.

So what you produce might be a funny little commercial where teens living without parental help have to contend with the estate in the wake of their parents’ poor preparation. Then the teens you’re trying to reach would, ostensibly, view the content, go to mom and dad, and have a conversation addressing this concept. The teens become surrogate sellers for your brand.

Certainly, this is a slim hypothetical; most life insurance companies are going to advertise to other demographics—but you get the point. As with the suit and jersey analogy earlier, you need to tailor the accoutrements of your brand’s body to match the occasion. Whatever you produce should, ultimately, be entertaining. So be funny, be awe-inspiring, and be interesting.

Understand Who You Reach: Younger Demographics

This was alluded to earlier. The primary audience of TikTok is teenagers. Most of them are 14+, and they tend to do a lot of humorous dance videos. A lot of text, a lot of exposition, a lot of things that teenagers might find “boring” will ultimately work against your brand. You need to be exciting, enthralling, interesting, and watchable with whatever you do.

Outsourcing content production to influencers is a good idea, that’s a point we’ll expand on further down this list. If you’re producing your own content, what you want to do is emphasize entertainment, then promote your brand collaterally. You might even just design some gorgeous, emotionally engaging video that’s “produced by ‘Your Brand’ ”, as it were.

Make Visual Content With Interesting Photographic Techniques

Part of being interesting, engaging, enthralling, and ultimately effective as a TikTok marketer will involve videos, pictures, and other arrangements which make full use of aesthetically enhancing visual effects. For example, check out this Facetune app for Bokeh effect photos. If you’re not familiar, this is essentially a depth-of-field technique.

In a nutshell, depth-of-field refers to the subject of a photo, and its background. When you see a picture with a crystal-clear individual front-and-center, and a blurry background, that’s a depth-of-field effect. Before, the way in which you focused the lens of a camera would produce this effect.

Utilizing new apps that facilitate the “Bokeh effect” allows you to get the same outcome without having to incorporate associated skill in terms of photo capture. Even if you’re not especially skilled in traditional photography techniques, with an app like that in the hyperlink, you get the same effect. At the end of the day, you have more ROI for less investment.

Instead of spending a lot on an expensive sort of photographic technique as applied by a journeyman photographer, you just get an app and you’re good to go.

Make Visual Content With Interesting (Source: pixabay)

Explore Successful TikTok Marketing From Known Companies

See what similar companies are up to. A few successful brands on TikTok now include Duolingo, Ryanair, BBC Education, Chipotle, and Gymshark. Look at the pictures and videos they’re producing. Is there any crossover with your brand?

Where they’re doing something that fits with the brand “voice” of your company, incorporate it. If they’re not doing something that would work for you, but which works for them, figure out why, and whether or not you can achieve similar outcomes with a different approach.

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are a bit “played”, as it were, when it comes to advertising saturation. Because they’re at the top of the social media mountain, a variety of marketers have made these outreach avenues key to their advertisement strategies overall. Meanwhile, TikTok is still a bit like the “wild west”, as it were.

As yet, TikTok isn’t totally saturated with ads, meaning users are more likely to engage with marketing content without suspecting someone is trying to sell them something. So keep it that way by making your emphasis entertainment. This will do better for conversion overall, as it will increase engagement with your content.

Increased engagement leads to increased awareness. Awareness is the top segment of the “sales funnel”. Next is consideration, followed by conversion. If you make content easy to engage with, that’s going to help.

Influencer Collaboration is Key to Effective Visibility

One very effective way of fostering engagement involves working with popular influencers on TikTok. Instagram has been doing this for years. They’ll find profiles that have a lot of traffic, and pay those influencers to advertise their products. You’ve got to be savvy about this. There are several ways to approach the tactic.

On the one hand, you can carefully line out precisely what TikTok influencers should do. Tell them what to say, how to say it, and give them an overall profile of your brand to explore. But keep in mind, some of the most popular TikTok influencers are teenagers, and they may not have the ability to understand something complicated even if they try.

So another approach is just paying them to mention your brand here and there, in ways that feel natural and aren’t forced. You can send them free products to review, or ask them to feature what you sell in their videos. The key here is, you don’t want to control the TikTok influencer too much, or they’ll decide not to work with you.

Contrarily, if you pay them enough, this issue evaporates, but you’ve got to be savvy enough to tier remuneration to associated marketing impact. Also, don’t tell the “TikToker” your numbers, or they might end up demanding more money, and you’ll be compelled to pay if they’re influential enough.

Initiate a Product or Service Hashtag Challenge

A great idea to combine influencer marketing with your own channel is the hashtag challenge. Remember the #IceBucketChallenge? People dumped a bucket of ice cold water on themselves as a means of raising awareness for a particular medical condition. Well, you can initiate similar challenges for your products or services.

There are a few different ways to approach this, as with all suggestions on this list. You could have a challenge which specifically uses your products or services in the ways they are intended to be used, or which uses them in a collateral way that has nothing to do with their intended use. Remember, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and you’re dealing with teens.

What do teenagers like doing? They like pushing the boundaries and using things in ways that, perhaps, they weren’t intended to be used for. Be safe, and don’t make any challenges that are dangerous. The #TidePodChallenge was a toxic one dangerous to many teens, and which social media promulgated to the hurt of the social media industry, teens, and advertisers.

You don’t want to do anything like that. But maybe you sell waterproof socks, and your challenge involves teens standing in a bucket of ice water wearing them. Again, we’re talking about a hypothetical here. You’ll want to be imaginative. For best results, it should be some sort of challenge that engages teens, and which influencers can easily and safely do.

Ice Bucket challange - Initiate a Product or Service Hashtag Challenge (Source: pixabay)

Keep Careful Data to Shift as Necessary

Throughout the process of TikTok marketing, it’s very important to keep numbers so you know what works, what doesn’t, what to fix, and how to fix it. Keep in mind, as social media and decentralized infrastructure become more prominent in modern society, that which works one year may be completely ineffective the next. Solid marketing can shift as needed.

Consult with experts to see what sort of moves will be best for your company. Determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to see what strategies are effective, and what strategies aren’t doing you any favors. Allocate a certain amount of budget for experimental outreach. Carefully weigh costs spent on influencers and videos.

Be ready to change the way in which you approach TikTok marketing on a moment’s notice. Also, it’s worth noting that some brands do engage with teens specifically, and insights you take away from TikTok marketing could be applied to the brand overall. The jersey worn by a fan at the game is also worn by the player on the field.

Maybe your brand has more to do with the field than it does with the office; accordingly the way you clothe it is more effective with field-based stylings than those designed for office work. That’s an analogy, but you see what’s being said here. The data will reveal which moves are best, and which ones are no longer working as you need them to.

Most Effectively Leveraging TikTok Potential

It’s very important to keep close data on all your outreach through TikTok. Hashtag challenges can be very effective at generating awareness, they just need to be approached in the right way, and that may well involve research. Collaborating with successful TikTok influencers makes a lot of sense, consultants can help you choose the best influencers for your brand.

Since TikTok isn’t saturated with marketing yet, you can play that reality to your advantage; try to design content that doesn’t feel like it’s inviting viewers to buy or sign up for something. Also, look at what companies are doing as regards successful TikTok marketing to help point you in the right direction, as it were, pertaining to associated social media marketing.

Visually interesting content using techniques like the Bokeh effect can be quite helpful, tiering content to match specific demographics is key, building outreach to be entertaining is very wise, hashtags help algorithms organically promote your content, and designing channels around your brand specifically is integral to success overall.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as regards best practices for TikTok marketing. Consultation through outreach agencies can be very helpful, too. Hopefully, at minimum, these ideas assist you in developing a successful TikTok marketing campaign producing sustainable and profitable ROI for your brand.

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